What We're Reading: September

By , SparkPeople Blogger
It's been busy here at SparkPeople, but we've still made time to keep up with the latest and greatest healthy living titles. Here's what we've been reading--what's on your bedside table?

Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health by Gene Stone, with Dr. Colin T. Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Essylstyn Jr.

What if one simple change could save you from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer? For decades, that question has fascinated a small circle of impassioned doctors and researchers—and now, their life-changing research is making headlines in the hit documentary Forks Over Knives.

Their answer? Eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet—it could save your life. It may overturn most of the diet advice you’ve heard—but the experts behind Forks Over Knives aren't afraid to make waves. In his book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn explained that eating meat, dairy, and oils injures the lining of our blood vessels, causing heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.

In The China Study, Dr. Colin Campbell revealed how cancer and other diseases skyrocket when eating meat and dairy is the norm—and plummet when a traditional plant-based diet persists. And more and more experts are adding their voices to the cause: There is nothing else you can do for your health that can match the benefits of a plant-based diet.
Now, as Forks Over Knives is introducing more people than ever before to the plant-based way to health, this accessible guide provides the information you need to adopt and maintain a plant-based diet.

You Can Create an Exceptional Life by Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson

 For countless people, the words of Louise Hay have served as a beacon, leading them out of the darkness of despair and into the light of a better life. Cheryl Richardson is one of the many individuals whom Louise has greatly influenced . . . before going on to become a best-selling author herself.
     So what happens when these two combine their collective wisdom into one book?
     The result is what you’re now holding in your hands. As Louise and Cheryl engage in a series of empowering and intimate conversations, you’ll feel as if you’re simultaneously having lunch with your best friends and also attending a master class put on by two leaders of the self-empowerment movement.
     As they travel throughout North America and Europe together, Louise and Cheryl discuss a wide range of topics, including the importance of loving ourselves and our bodies; aging consciously; bringing true prosperity and abundance to the world; manifesting positive relationships—both with family and friends and in the workplace; and facing death in a dignified and peaceful way.
     These two amazing women are living proof that the spiritual principles they discuss in these pages really work. As you read, you’ll discover that you, too, have the ability to create an exceptional life!

Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie
In Start Something That Matters, Blake Mycoskie tells the story of TOMS, one of the fastest-growing shoe companies in the world, and combines it with lessons learned from such other innovative organizations as method, charity: water, FEED Projects, and TerraCycle. Blake presents the six simple keys for creating or transforming your own life and business, from discovering your core story to being resourceful without resources; from overcoming fear and doubt to incorporating giving into every aspect of your life. No matter what kind of change you’re considering, Start Something That Matters gives you the stories, ideas, and practical tips that can help you get started.   

The Kimchi Chronicles: Korean Cooking for an American Kitchen by Marja Vongerichten with Jean Georges Vongerichten

Long a favorite of in-the-know foodies, Korean cuisine is poised to become the next big food trend, with dishes like bibimbap and kimchi popping up on menus nationwide. In a new PBS series that will begin airing in May 2011, Marja Vongerichten and three-star Michelin chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten will give viewers an insider’s look at Korea as they travel the country and experience its authentic flavors and cultural traditions. As the show’s companion cookbook, The Kimchi Chronicles will include a recipe for every dish featured, explaining how they can be easily duplicated in an American kitchen. Chef Vongerichten will also offer original dishes with a lighter, modern flair, showing how the flavors of the Korean table can be readily integrated into any meal.
For lovers of Korean food, those eager to experiment in search of an accessible introduction to this intriguing cuisine, and readers who just want a little taste of culinary and cultural exploration outside the Western Hemisphere, The Kimchi Chronicles is sure to provide plenty of inspiration, information, and entertainment.

Peas and Thank You: Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love
by Sarah Matheny

When Sarah Matheny, creator of the popular blog Peas and Thank You, decided to eliminate animal products from her diet, she knew there'd be skeptics. Her husband was raised on the standard American diet. Her grandpa was a butcher. Her mom was the best home cook around, with a generous pat of butter here and a crumble of bacon there. But now Sarah is a mom who wants to feed her children right.
Out went the diet soda. In came the smoothies.
Out went the "nutrition" bars. In came the nutritious cookies.
Out went a tired, caffeine-fueled mom. In came Mama Pea.
Peas and Thank You is a collection of recipes and stories from a mainstream family eating a not–so–mainstream diet. Filled with healthy and delicious versions of foods we've all grown up enjoying, but with a Mama Pea twist—no meat, lots of fresh ingredients and plenty of nutrition for growing Peas. From wholesome breakfasts to mouth–watering desserts, there's plenty here to satisfy the pickiest Peas in your life. It's easier than ever to whip up crowd–pleasing meals that will have the whole family asking for, "more, Peas."

The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight by Chef Meg Galvin and Stepfanie Romine (Hey, that's me!)
OK, so it's not out yet, but I do keep visiting our Amazon page to pinch myself and make sure it's real. It is! And it's coming Oct. 4!

What are you reading?

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Well looks like Denise Minger (who thoroughly debunked Campbell's claims in the China Study, using his own data), has finally written up a critique of the science behind Forks Over Knives as well: rawfoodsos.com/2011/09/22/forks-ove

Definitely worth a read for anyone interested in that movie! Report
I recently saw Forks Over Knives documentary,it makes one wonder what is behind all the chronic illness in America. Report
I would argue that eating meat isn't bad, but eating processed and highly industrialized meat is bad. Dairy also causes problems in excess, that's true. But you need to have healthy fats such as tallow and coconut oil and avocado. Honestly the Paleo diet seems the best to me. Why not put up a study about why wheat and grains are not very good for us? I'd love to see that. Report
I'm putting Start Something That Matters on my list at the library, along You Can Create an Exceptional Life.

That quality of the "food" we give our minds matters just as much as that we give our foods, in my opinion. Which is not to say that I don't give my brain some "fluff" on a regular basis, too. I just avoid toxic books, movies and blogs. Report
We saw the film "Forks Over Knives." It made such an impact on us that we decided to change to a vegan diet. We both feel much better (more energy, sleeping better ...) and are seeing unexpected changes in our bodies. (We were so impressed with the changes that we wrote to the FOK people. A quote from our letter is included in the book.) Report
I have not read any self help books lately. I'm reading for entertainment at the moment. Report
I enjoyed the greatest health in my life when I lived with a poor-ish family in Mexico. They ate meat and dairy BUT only as a very small part of the diet--for instance, one chicken (think *small* chicken) was the meat portion of a stew that served 17 people--amply, but it was mostly vegetables. Same with dairy: milk and cheese were a very small part of the diet (if you think 'bikini' diet, meat & dairy together would make one bra cup--and it would be pastie-sized!). Grain was not a large part of the diet, either. Tortillas were corn (not wheat). Bread was rare, and I avoided it, since it was the old "Wonder Bread" variety, though their brand name--I kid you not- was "Pan Bimbo" (i.e., 'bimbo bread.')

Lived there two years, was never sick, lost weight, and was glowingly healthy. All the food was local (within 80km), grown on small farms, and very tasty. Trade-off? we had to boil all the water.

There's a lot to be said in favor of a plant-based diet even if it's not entirely vegetarian, especially if ALL sorts of edible plants, not just the starchy (and often hybridized) grains are considered. Report
I am reading "The Jungle Effect" by Daphne Miller M.D.: a Doctor's look at diets that are followed in different areas of the world that seem to help avoid common diseases like breast cancer, diabetes etc. fascinating!! Report
As for the first book, I must say that it did not take me very long as a vegan to realize that it wasn't right for me. I was developing a physical type of depression and lack of energy after only a few months. Also, my cholesterol level went too low, so much so that my physician was concerned. I am eating meat again and feeling much better for it.

Oh, and one more thing: a close reading of The China Study will reveal that the more vegetarian the people were, the more likely they were to suffer from infectious diseases and malnutrition. So there's a trade-off. Report
I'm surprised by how many people are hating on eating a more plant-based diet. Is there really any doubt that we all need to be eating a LOT more produce?

I can't wait to see Forks Over Knives (most likely tomorrow night) and I didn't even know there was a book! And I love Sarah aka Mama Pea's blog, so was definitely excited to see her cookbook. Report
OMG. The China Study was based on irresponsible non-science and was disproved a long time ago. Do your research before publishing something like this. And it goes to show that we all need to accept responsibility when comes to what we will believe and accept as fact. Look things up and use multiple references before you blindly accept what someone says.

Also, each of us has different needs when it comes to the amount of protein and other components in our diets. I've lost 90 lbs over several years just by eating low carb, higher protein and getting good exercise. I get a full blood panel twice a year for kidney and other problems and have had no adverse effects. I am diabetic so I NEED to eat low carb.

I just finished Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls and it was facinating. Now I
am reading Walden. Earlier this summer I read The Reversal by Michael Connelly which was good mind candy. Truthfully, I don't buy cookbooks much because of all the recipes available on line and I have a couple old reliables from my college days. Report
I had to give up gluten, I am NOT giving up meat! Sorry! Report
I love reading Mama Peas' blog. She has a great sense of humor! Report
Why do we base what we should eat on studies done in China and Korea? I still think that there are people who thrive on eating meat. The point of wellness is to find what foods are best for you as an individual, not based on group studies! Report
I think I'll be putting the Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson book on my winter list. Looks like a good read! Report
Oddly enough, the human species has populated the world to the tune of 7 BILLION PEOPLE by being omnivorous for the most part. Report
I just got a bunch of books from Chapters probably will start either "We are soldiers still" or "valley of death" Vietnam war books the second being about the French defeat at Den Bien Phu Report
Great reads I've just finished: "Fat-Proof Your Family", by Dr. J. Ron Eaker, and "Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?" by Peter Walsh. Report
I am reading Fall of Giants (Ken Follett); I have preordered the Spark Cookbook from Amazon (and eagerly waiting) and I think that Forks and Knives will be on my wish list. I ate 'out' for two meals today and interestingly have not hit my 5-7 fruits or vegetables though I ate healthy fare and kept under the calories alotted. Years ago I read that the Asian population had little colon cancer until they moved to the states and became Americanized in food and fluids. Think it will be an excellent read. Report
I just started Nimisha's Ship this evening.

Nope, it has nothing to do with getting healthy - it's for enjoyment! Report
I'm reading "Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It" by Gary Taubes. Report
I'm reading Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. And as someone who can speak from experience, no eating meat and animal fat does not cause a rise in cancer or heart disease, along as it is accompanied by fermented foods as well. Refined plant oils, organic or not, cause cancer and other problems. Grains cause a multitude of diseases. Pasteurized dairy causes joint stiffening and can lead to arterial problems, because all the natural enzymes present in dairy have been destroyed, turning it into an almost useless food. Eating veggies is great, but humans are omnivores and a balanced veggie/meat/fat diet is the healthiest. Report
I have pre-ordered my copy of "The SparkPeople Cookbook" and am now patiently (or 'perhaps' not so patiently) waiting for its release. I highly anticipate making very good use of this book. Report